SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A suspect believed connected to the mass shooting in Sacramento was arrested, but the multiple shooters police believe fatally shot six people and wounded 12 on a crowded street in California’s capital are still on the loose.
More than 100 shots were fired early Sunday in downtown Sacramento, creating a chaotic scene with hundreds of people trying desperately to get to safety. A day later police announced the arrest of Dandrae Martin, 26, as a “related suspect” on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and being a convict carrying a loaded gun. A court appearance was set for Tuesday.
Detectives and SWAT team members found one handgun during searches of three area homes.
The arrest came as the three women and three men killed were identified. The shooting occurred at about 2 a.m. Sunday as bars were closing and patrons filled the streets near the state Capitol. The fallen included a father of four, a young woman who wanted to be a social worker, a man described as the life of the party, and a woman who lived on the streets nearby and was looking for housing.
The Sacramento County coroner identified the women killed as Johntaya Alexander, 21; Melinda Davis, 57; and Yamile Martinez-Andrade, 21. The three men were Sergio Harris, 38; Joshua Hoye-Lucchesi, 32; and De’vazia Turner, 29.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg read their names during a vigil Monday evening attended by grieving relatives, friends and community members.
“So we gather here to remember the victims and to commit ourselves to doing all we can to ending the stain of violence, not only in our community but throughout the state, throughout the country, and throughout the world,” Steinberg said.
Turner, who had three daughters and a son, was a “protector” who worked as the night manager at an inventory company, his mother, Penelope Scott, told The Associated Press. He rarely went out, and she had no reason to believe he would be in harm’s way when he left her house after he visited Saturday night.
“My son was walking down the street and somebody started shooting, and he got shot. Why is that to happen?” Scott said. “I feel like I’ve got a hole in my heart.”
The burst of gunshots sent people running in terror in the neighborhood just a few blocks from the arena where the NBA’s Sacramento Kings play.
Police were investigating whether the shooting was connected with a street fight that broke out just before gunfire erupted. Several people could be seen in videos scrapping on a street lined with an upscale hotel, nightclubs and bars when gunshots sent people scattering.
Detectives also were trying to determine if a stolen handgun found at the crime scene was connected to the shooting, Police Chief Kathy Lester said. Witnesses answered her plea for help by providing more than 100 videos and photos of evidence.
District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert noted Martin was not arrested on suspicion of homicide, but suggested investigators were making progress.
“The investigation is highly complex involving many witnesses, videos of numerous types and significant physical evidence,” Schubert said in a statement. “This is an ongoing investigation and we anticipate more arrests in this case.”
Martin was held without bail and was scheduled to appear in Sacramento County Superior Court on Tuesday, according to jail records.
Martin was freed from an Arizona prison in 2020 after serving just over 1 1/2 years for violating probation in separate cases involving a felony conviction for aggravated assault in 2016 and a conviction on a marijuana charge in 2018. Court records show he pleaded guilty to punching, kicking and choking a woman in a hotel room when she refused to work for him as a prostitute.
It was not immediately clear whether Martin had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
Of the 12 wounded, at least four suffered critical injuries, the Sacramento Fire Department said. At least seven of the victims had been released from hospitals by Monday.
At the scene where the chaos erupted, memorials with candles and flowers began to grow on the same sidewalks where video showed people screaming and running for shelter as others lay on the ground writhing in pain.
A small bouquet of purple roses was dedicated to Melinda Davis, who lived on the streets for years, with a note saying “Melinda Rest In Peace.”
Politicians decried the shooting, and some Democrats, including President Joe Biden, called for tougher action against gun violence.
California has some of the nation’s toughest restrictions on firearms, requiring background checks to buy guns and ammunition, limiting magazines to 10 bullets, and banning firearms that fall into its definition of assault weapons.
But state lawmakers plan to go further. A bill getting its first hearing Tuesday would allow citizens to sue those who possess illegal weapons, a measure patterned after a controversial Texas bill aimed at abortions.
Other proposed California legislation this year would make it easier for people to sue gun companies and target unregistered “ghost guns,” firearms made from build-it-yourself kits.
The California Assembly held a moment of silence Monday in honor of the victims. Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, a Democrat who represents Sacramento, noted lawmakers could see the crime scene from the building’s balcony.
“Tragic is too small of a word to describe what occurred just two nights ago as a devastating loss for our city,” McCarty said.